Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm a wuss when it comes to cold weather. I'll stay inside as much as possible or better yet I'll escape to a warm spot on the globe for an extended holiday. This year I couldn't get away and worse still my truck is out of commission. So any getting around I do is by foot, bike or taxi/rental car/carpooling.

As you can imagine I was not thrilled to have to make the trek 50kms to my office in the middle of a deep freeze. The temps were below -40 deg C today when you factor in wind chill - yikes! I bundled up well and grabbed my Tikit to meet my carpool ride. Lucky I have a folding bike as her rear hatch was frozen shut and the opening through the side door was really narrow. The ride out was uneventful, but you know it is cold when a car's heater is running full blast and you need to keep your coat, hat and gloves on to stay comfortable.

The fun began when she dropped me off at the end of the day. Rolling my Tikit into the train station I got lots of incredulous stares. Just walking across the parking lot to the platform I was getting really cold. If you have any weak spots in your armour at -40 C you'll find out really quickly. In this case my single layer of long underwear just wasn't cutting it nor was my exposed nose having much fun.

As the train arrived at my destination I put on every bit of cold weather gear I had and braced myself for the ride home. The Hyper-fold Tikit is nice because with no QRs to deal with you can fold/unfold your bike in full-on winter gloves. A definite plus in the Great White North - metal and exposed skin is not a great idea. Riding was a bit awkward in my bulky clothing - especially my huge insulated boots, but I was prepared to sacrifice elegance for comfort under these conditions.

I got several cheers and waves from commuters heading towards the station. I'm not sure if it was the small bike or the crazy weather that made them so stoked about seeing me pass. My nose took a beating with the added cold generated by my speed. I had to stop and adjust my hat and buff so that only a silver of skin was exposed around my eyes.

I could feel the shifting get sloppy as everything cooled down. I hoped my ride was short enough that my hub wouldn't freeze up. I really didn't want to walk. I hadn't ridden my Tikit for over a week due to my visit to Ontario. I knew the tires would be a little low on air, but figured that would be a good thing on the icy roads. I was happy with the Marathons in their soft state. I slipped a few times, but nothing short of studs would solve that on glare ice. The small 16" wheels and thick soles of my boots meant that I could put a foot down and stay on the saddle which was very confidence inspiring on icy patches.

I can't remember being so stoked to see my apartment building before. I rolled up to the door with a big smile on my face and savoured the first blast of hot air as I entered the building. The Tikit is no Pugsley, but it isn't afraid of a little taste of Jack Frost....=-)

Does Bike Friday sell snow chains for 349 size wheels?...=-)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

...on cold days like this, remember there's a 2007 Versa with your name on it! It even starts in -50 weather without needing to be plugged in ;)